Drawing File Cleanup: Addressing DWG Corruption
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Drawing File Cleanup: Addressing DWG Corruption

Friday, 10 June 2022
Presented By:  Jaymz Wooden

Drawing corruption is a major source of headaches and lost work for CAD designers. Although it can occur for a number of reasons, cleaning your drawings frequently is the best way to prevent it. We'll walk you through the process of cleaning your drawings and show you some effective techniques for detecting and troubleshooting corruption when it strikes.

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)


  • Intro/TOC
  • What Is Drawing Corruption?
  • Autodesk's Recommendation
  • The Nuke Tool
  • Manual Cleaning

0:00 – 5:06: Intro/TOC

5:07 – 8:08: What Is Drawing Corruption?

  • Drawing corruption can be thought of as the degradation of your saved data.
  • The DWG file format is an archaic one. It is susceptible to drawing corruption that stems from a number of entities such as:
    • RegApps
    • Proxy Objects
    • DGN linetypes
    • Layer filters
    • Scale list entries
    • Shape definitions
  • While corruption is not a virus, it acts like one and can move from drawing to drawing. You must restart CAD completely to prevent spreading.
  • Drawing corruption is not created by Land F/X, but we can help you detect and hopefully fix it.

8:09 – 11:07: Autodesk's Recommendation

Autodesk RegApp cleanup (8:09)

  • Registered Applications (RegApps) allow the adding of data to objects in AutoCAD. The basic functionality of Land F/X relies on the RegApp system.
  • Corrupt objects can cause the RegApp system to go haywire, and your drawing can fill with excessive RegApps.
  • Aside from the warning message, a common sign of this type of corruption is a slow and sluggish drawing.
  • The damage from excessive RegApps can turn all F/X objects into "dumb" objects. Plants, callouts, irrigation symbols, and more can be reverted into plain blocks, making them unrecognizable by Land F/X.
  • Because this is the most common form of drawing corruption, we will address it first.
  • Autodesk, being well aware of the issue, offers a free tool to clean your drawings, removing all corrupt RegApps.

11:08 – 14:42: The Nuke Tool

  • Our Nuke tool can help clean your drawing. What does it do?
  • It removes all Layout tabs. If you need to retain your Layout tabs, you will need to clean the drawing manually. In the future, keep your sheets in your own drawings.
  • It reverts the UCS. If you wish to save your UCS, you will need to draw a reference line and re-create it after you run Nuke.
  • It removes Layer States. These can be added again easily after running Nuke by using our Load Layers tool.
  • It removes any scale set to the drawing. You can reset the scale after using Nuke.
  • It will remove all Proxy Objects from the drawing.
  • Make sure the drawing file does not have any specific characters in the name. If you get an error message, check the drawing file name.
  • Nuke creates a quarantine file, which allows you to retain a copy of the file in its pre-Nuked state.

14:43 – end: Manual Cleaning

  • First things first, clean your Xrefs. Look for empty Xrefs as well.
  • Close CAD and open a fresh instance.
  • Open the drawing with the clean Xrefs, and save a backup copy.
  • Turn on and thaw all layers.
  • Select all objects in the drawing, and then deselect the objects you wish to keep. Delete all unwanted objects.
  • Run the Overkill command.
  • Freeze any layers not in use.
  • Run the Purge or PRG command.
  • Delete all RegApps using the DELREGAPPS command.
  • Run the Audit command to fix any errors.


Note that corruption usually comes from external references (Xrefs), so it's important to clean them and even have folders for these files named Incoming, Cleaned, etc. (18:57)


Overview of the Autodesk Cleanup Utility tool (20:21)

You can find a link to the Autodesk Cleanup Utility on our Infection Detected! Knowledge Base article.


Verifying our recommended Object ARX Application settings in the Options dialog box, Open and Save tab (27:39):

  • Command Invoke menu option selected
  • Do not show proxy graphics menu option selected
  • Show Proxy Information dialog box checkbox selected


What to verify before running the Nuke tool (28:34):

  • Layout tabs
  • Detaching Xrefs
  • Thaw all layers
  • Selecting All and noting object count


Running the Nuke tool (30:25)


Why we strongly recommend to have a single Layout sheet per drawing (33:11)


Examining the results of the Nuke tool in the newly cleaned drawing file (34:40)


The Proxy dialog box (36:33)

Note that the Proxy dialog box is only an indicator of drawing corruption. Land F/X does not cause drawing corruption – we just use this dialog box to tell you when it's present.


Running through our recommended manual drawing cleanup steps (36:54)


Saving a copy of each drawing file (37:05)


Thawing and turning on all layers (37:27)


Zooming out and selecting all objects , deselecting all objects to keep in the drawing, and deleting everything else (37:41)


Checking and detaching all Xrefs (38:32)

Note: If you are unable to detach an Xref, that's a strong indicator that it's corrupt and that you should address the corruption immediately.


Checking out what's left in the drawing using the Properties panel (39:02)


Running the Overkill command (39:41)


Freezing all unwanted layers and running the Purge or Instant Purge (PRG) command (40:43)


Deleting all RegApps (41:30)


Running the Audit command (42:11)


Running a Clean Export (42:41)


Closing CAD (this step is extremely important in preventing corruption from spreading between drawings. (43:08)


Comparing file sizes between corrupt and cleaned drawing files (the corrupt file will be much bigger) (43:25)


Note that all the manual cleaning tools are on the Manage and F/X Admin ribbons. (44:28)


Verifying in the Properties panel that all wanted objects are still in the drawing (45:18)


Verifying that all empty layers have been removed (45:27)


Cleaning multiple files using our BatchMan tool (46:08)

Note that BatchMan does not complete every single cleaning step to the extent of the Nuke tool or manual cleaning steps – for example, it will not remove proxy objects.


Exception to our general recommendation of selecting the Do not show proxy graphics menu option in the Options dialog box: an Xref such as a topographic file that consists of mostly, or even all, proxy objects. In this case, the entire Xref file would appear to be blank unless you selected the Show proxy graphics menu option. You'd then want to explode all the proxy objects into objects that CAD can recognize. Exploding the proxy objects will allow you to clean the file effectively. (48:48)

Note that we do not recommend exploding the proxy objects in a drawing that came from within your office. Instead, the workaround is to save that drawing as a copy to use as a reference. In this case, we recommend working with your co-workers to ensure they are exporting their drawings in a way in which they do not contain proxy objects.


How to explode proxy objects into AutoCAD objects (51:25)

Remember to save the exploded drawing as a copy before running the Nuke command.



How often to clean a file (54:30)

Take note of the file size and performance as you continue to work with a file. If you see it increasing in size or decreasing in performance, it's a good indicator that the file needs cleaning. Also keep the proxy info dialog box turned on. If you open a file and this dialog pops up and tells you the file contains a large number of proxy objects again, you'll know it needs cleaning but, more importantly, that you need investigate where those proxy objects came from.


Using the WBLOCK command to copy the exploded entities to a fresh drawing (this is a viable, simple cleaning step that can be effective, although it's not as robust as all the cleaning steps we recommend). (56:15)


How to turn on the proxy info dialog box (selecting the Show proxy information option in the Options dialog box, Open and Save tab) (58:11)


Quick corruption test: Click on an object in your drawing that isn't a hatch and see how long it takes for the grip points to appear. If they don't appear instantly, corruption is likely. (59:04)

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